President of policy think tank, IMANI Ghana, Franklin Cudjoe has said that the organisers of the Ghana Expatiates Business Awards did no wrong in the $100,000 ‘access fee’ saga.
There was a hue and cry when news broke that expats at the ceremony were asked to pay $100,000 to sit close to the president.
The Presidency subsequently cleared the Trade Ministry of any wrongdoing in the organisation of the awards after it invited the sector Minister Alan Kyerematen to provide details on the matter.
But the Minority Chief Whip Muntaka Mubarak described as a “complete cover-up”, claims by the presidency that there was no wrongdoing.
The Minority in parliament called for a bipartisan committee to probe the development; a request the Speaker of Parliament Prof. Mike Oquaye granted.
But speaking on Accra based Citi FM Saturday, Mr. Cudjoe said that the conduct of the organisers was standard practice.
He, however, indicated that the Ministry could have been better with its handling of the whole process.
“My personal opinion is that the Trade Ministry handled this thing quite poorly. Secondly, I have to also say that if you organize a formal programme with business people, there is actually nothing entirely wrong if they paid for tables…unless of course, those sums were indeed extorted. We have to differentiate the two,” he said.
“If the sums were not extorted and to the extent that it was a business meeting, and people wanted to sit close to the president there is nothing wrong. I would have thought that if the tables were sold in a manner that made people feel that I’m being made to pay a sum that I don’t like, that’s the difference here. It’s standard practice but I think it was poorly executed by the Ministry, of course that is what I feel,” he added.